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Digital driving licences roll out in 2 months as NTSA inks supply deal


NTSA director-general Francis Meja during the launch of a pedestrian fence initiative in Nairobi. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA

Kenyan motorists will begin to use the long promised digital driving licences in two months’ time after the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) signed a Sh2.1 billion contract with the National Bank of Kenya for their supply.
NTSA director-general Francis Meja said the contract had been signed for manufacture and formulation of smart digital licences that will among other things carry a detailed driver profile, which includes traffic breaches.

National Bank won the tender in 2015, defeating 22 companies that had also lodged bids to supply the second generation licences that had been slated to come online mid-last-year.

“National Bank of Kenya have promised us that in two months Kenyan drivers will have digital licences that replace our paper-based documents. The bank has signed a contract with us confirming they and their partners are up to the task,” he said.

The choice of the National Bank was not without controversy, being the subject of a petition filed by losing bidders who argued that the award strayed from the Banking Act, which requires financial institutions to stick to their core area of operation unless permitted by the Central Bank of Kenya.

The Public Procurement Administrative Review Board ruled in favour of the project awarded to the bank, but the High Court put a condition on the award, ruling later that the lender would need to secure a bond for half the sum of the award from a reputable third party financial institution before proceeding with the project.

Speaking on Thursday during the launch of the NTSA’s pedestrian fence initiative, Mr Meja said that the authority was in consultations with insurance companies, which will facilitate fast adoption of the smart licences once introduced.

Lower premiums

Insurance companies are expected to adopt a new premium pricing model that will partially rely on smart driving licences to enable them reward good drivers with lower premiums and raise those of bad drivers.

“We shall have a centralised database profiling driver behaviour where repeat offenders lose points to an extent of having their driving licences suspended temporarily or confiscated for good,” said Mr Meja.

The smart driving licences are embedded with a secure computer chip containing the holder’s information, which is only readable using special electronic gadgets to be owned and managed by NTSA officials.

According to government statistics, in 2015, NTSA issued 91,336 driving licences, up from 88,666 issued in 2014. It is planning to procure 6.5 million smart driving licences.